Paul Midgley, Market Manager — Trade, at Knauf UK looks at added value products and how using a spot of product knowledge to upsell effectively can bring benefits to both merchants and customers.
The construction industry has something a reputation for being slow to change and it’s probably fair to recognise that there is some reassurance in using a familiar product. However, when counter staff are able to offer advice on better product options, there is margin to be made for the merchant and better results for the contractor.
Plasterboard is one group that is top of the list of under-rated products. Too often, standard gypsum board is viewed as a commodity fix-all when technical teams have developed a range of options with characteristics to meet specific performance demands. Understanding the best product offer is key to a spot of upselling.
Asking the right questions
When builders come into merchants, they are almost always looking for more than simply the products on their list. A bit of a look around at what’s in store, checking out offers and promotions and, often, a bit of a chat. And this is where the selling opportunity presents itself. A simple “what are you working on?” can open up a range of upselling opportunities — particularly when it comes to plasterboard.
If the answer is “a bathroom” then there’s an immediate opportunity to consider moisture resistant product such as Knauf Moisture Panel. A gypsum board, Moisture Panel contains additives that make it resistant to the humidity that can lead standard boards to decay over time.
On the other hand, if it’s a kitchen extension, then the homeowner might just appreciate the added reassurance provided by Knauf Fire Panel which gives up to 120 minutes fire protection as part of a full Knauf system.
“Plasterboard is one group that is top of the list of under-rated products. Too often, standard gypsum board is viewed as a commodity fix-all when technical teams have developed a range of options with characteristics to meet specific performance demands.”
Keep the sound down
An equally popular answer at the moment is likely to be “home office” with the rise in working from home habits leading many to consider a dedicated space for home working. Here, the immediate problem for families is often one of noise. The need for quiet space for working is in direct opposition to the recent trend for open plan living and finding the right partitioning solution is important.
So important in fact, that acoustic insulation has been a focus for product development with a range of options now available.
The first Knauf answer for this issue is Sound Panel. This is a denser product (and therefore heavier) than standard wallboards and effectively reduces noise transfer between neighbouring rooms. It’s ideal for residential applications, although it provides the best sound insulation when used as part of an acoustic wall system that will include cavity insulation and acoustic sealant. This system will meet the requirements of Approved Document E for partitions.
Sound Panel isn’t the only product developed for acoustic insulation — in fact, Knauf has developed a range of options with additional high-performance characteristics. Knauf Soundshield Plus, for example, combines effective acoustic control with impact and fire resistance. It is thicker and denser, giving high-level acoustic insulation (up to 54dB as part of a full Knauf system) and making it a good option for areas where sound control is top priority — this could be, for example, a utility room housing a washing machine and tumble dryer.
And top of the range is Knauf Performance Plus — the highest performance plasterboard in the Knauf range. 15mm thick and weighing in at 12.8kg per m2 (33.12kg per board), Performance Plus provides all-round performance. As part of a full Knauf system it promises up to 120 minutes fire resistance, combined with effective sound insulation, whilst it is also moisture resistant and highly resilient which makes it ideal for the most challenging environments — such as schools, hospitals and more.
Getting the right answers
This is not about finding a product that “will do”, but about providing the right solution for the right environment. Product development teams never stop and all manufacturers look to introduce improvements on tried and trusted ranges.
As such, it certainly pays to keep up to date and contractors always benefit from an informed chat with knowledgeable counter staff — one reason why merchant stores remain popular in an increasingly online world.
Click the link for more information on Knauf UK’s range of products and services.